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F., J.C. (1922). The Origin of Man and of his Superstitions: By Carveth Read, M.A. (Cambridge University Press, 1920. Pp. xii+350.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 3:109-113.

(1922). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 3:109-113

The Origin of Man and of his Superstitions: By Carveth Read, M.A. (Cambridge University Press, 1920. Pp. xii+350.)

Review by:
J. C. F.

Students of psychology and anthropology who are already in any way acquainted with Mr. Carveth Read's work during the years in which he was lecturer in Comparative Psychology at University College, London (subsequent to his resignation of the Grote Chair of philosophy) will welcome this volume, which contains in a convenient form many of the principal fruits of his scientific labours during these years. It is to be hoped however that the book will also make a strong appeal to the general reading public, and that its wide diffusion may help to make amends for the relatively small number of listeners who found their way to Mr. Read's somewhat remote and inaccessible lecture room, there to be rewarded by lectures which—in virtue of their combination of sound common sense with charm of expression and originality of exposition—undoubtedly deserved a larger audience and a wider recognition. To psycho-analysts in particular the book should be of interest as dealing with a variety of questions of the greatest importance in the development and history of the human mind and as suggesting a number of problems where psycho-analysis should be of service.

The work falls into two fairly distinct sections, the relative evaluation of which will no doubt differ according to the tastes and interests of the reader. In the first or smaller section (comprising the first 70 pages) there is developed a theory as to the differentiation of man from the anthropoids, this theory being that all the differences between man and his nearest relatives may be traced to the influence of a single variation operating among the original anthropoid conditions, i. e. 'the adoption of a flesh diet and the habits of a hunter in order to obtain it'.

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